Last July, Susan Brayton, of Dubuque, was getting her annual mammogram - a test that detected her breast cancer early in stage 1.
After being officially diagnosed with breast cancer in August, Susan embarked on her cancer treatment journey which included a lumpectomy, four rounds of chemotherapy, and 21 rounds of radiation therapy.
All of Susan's cancer care was provided where Dubuque's cancer care leaders, the Wendt Regional Cancer Center and Grand River Medical Group's Oncology clinic, are stronger together - the Integrated Cancer Center. At the Integrated Cancer Center, patients undergo both medical and radiation oncology services in one location.
"I felt like they all worked together and were there for all of your needs," Susan said. "Anything you needed done, they were right there for you. Your appointments and everything are all right in the same place, and there was no hassle with treatments."
Throughout her cancer treatment journey, Susan came to the Wendt Center for 21 days of radiation therapy treatment.
During her treatment journey, Susan began to experience some redness and tenderness on the area being treated for cancer, but she found the staff was very helpful.
"I was starting to get a little red and, in some pain," Susan said. "They gave me medicine to put on it right away. They truly are there to support you the entire way."
One lesson Susan learned from her care team during her cancer treatment journey was they are there for you throughout it all, especially when it comes to accepting a cancer diagnosis.
"Going through this process, they have made it so much easier on me," Susan said. "I don't even know if I admitted what was going on with me, until I started coming in for treatments. I feel blessed and fortunate my cancer was caught in stage 1, and they caught it on time. I'm also fortunate this is where I came for treatment, because they are so open-hearted and kind-hearted here that they make sure you are OK."
Susan is best known for being a hard worker both with the Dubuque Community School District and Menard's. Being active and living a normal routine is something Susan is looking forward to, now that she is a breast cancer survivor.
"I can't wait to get back to working two jobs at the school and Menard's," Susan said. "I'm looking forward to getting my life back to normal and getting back into a routine."
While she reflected on her cancer journey, Susan knows the Wendt Center staff had a lasting impact on her throughout treatment.
It made a big differenced and provided a source of hope as she embarked on her lengthy and challenging treatment journey.
"They go above and beyond to make you feel comfortable and relaxed while you are here," Susan said. "I feel like everyone calls me by my first name. The nurses are incredible at making every moment here almost enjoyable. I really don't mind coming here and in fact, I'm going to miss the people here now that I'm finished with treatment."
Susan also found unwavering support from members of her care team at the Wendt Center, along with family and friends.
"I'm beyond grateful for the support of the Wendt Center, my family, and my friends for their love and support through all of this," Susan said. "I'm so very blessed."
To learn more about 3D mammography at Finley Hospital, visit this link.